Prof. Dr. José Rodríguez Pérez
Professor of electrical engineering, former Rector of the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (UTFSM) in Chile (2006–2014)
DAAD Doctoral Scholarship 1982–1985
He is one of his country’s leading researchers: Professor Dr José Rodríguez Pérez of the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (UTFSM) received the 2014 Premio Nacional de Ciencias Aplicadas y Tecnológicas, one of Chile’s most important scientific awards. His expertise in electrical engineering was recognised by the DAAD back in the 1980s: from 1982 to 1985, Rodríguez completed his PhD at FAU on a DAAD scholarship. “I benefited professionally from the time I spent in Germany and also gained considerable experience of life,” explains Rodríguez. What he found particularly fascinating about Germany was the cultural diversity – and the good organisation. “It had a strong influence on the way I live and work. The scholarship was very important to my career and it’s something for which I’m extremely grateful to the DAAD."
What greatly impressed me about Germany was the cultural diversity and good organisation.
After completing his PhD, Rodríguez began a career as professor at UTFSM in his native Chile. In 1996, though, he took a break from academic life to work for a year in industry. “I assisted Siemens in the copper industry in Santiago de Chile. That, too, was a wonderful experience,” says the DAAD alumnus. Working together with other project partners, Rodríguez succeeded in constructing a rail network to transport copper from the mines up in the mountains to the valley. The researchers did so by exploiting the mineral’s energy potential. “For this development we received the 2013 award in the category energy from the Chilean Academy of Sciences,” says Rodríguez. “That puts the project among the 12 most important innovations in the country over the past 40 years.”
Back at UTFSM, José Rodríguez concentrated on administrative work, first as Director of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics, then as the university’s Vice-rector. In 2006, he was appointed Rector of UTFSM. During his nine-year term in office, the DAAD alumnus intensified the university’s contacts with Germany. “We cultivate numerous cooperative partnerships – for example with researchers in Aachen, Munich, Wuppertal and Siegen,” he says. Since October 2014, José Rodríguez has been responsible for establishing the Advanced Center for Electrical and Electronic Engineering at his university on behalf of Chile’s National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT). “After my long term in office as Rector, I’m looking forward to spending more time researching and teaching again.”